The stories you are about to hear are real. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, but more than that, the guilty.
Two nights a week, I babysit for two foul children on the Upper West Side. As seems to be the case these days, the kids go on frequent playdates, and the boy, we’ll call him “Gregory,” goes on Monday playdates with his friend, “Chester,” who is two months younger, and about 3 years behind Gregory.
“Hi, Chester,” I’ll say. The kid will just stand there looking at me with a dumb smile on his face. “Hello,” I’ll repeat. Nothing. No dice. Lights out. Nobody’s home.
Chester is lucky enough to have a 40 year old babysitter from Belize, let’s call her “Zora,” who likes that we all four stay together during the playdates, instead of me taking them both or her doing so.
“If I sit in the house, I fall asleep!” she shouts. Alright, fine, I think. I don’t know why she suddenly becomes narcaleptic indoors, but I guess it is the case. Instead, we go to the library, where the children play on the computer, possibly looking up inappropriate images, or researching how to cook meth, while Zora talks to me. This, for 2 hours.
“Zora don’t like that,” she’ll say about fast food or Chester’s parents’ messy habits. Wait, I think to myself, is Zora someone else?
“No, Zora don’t like that at all. Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnno.” She shakes her head with the “no.” By this time I’ll look at the clock. 5 minutes down, 1 hour and 55 to go. I look out the window to see how far the drop would be. Only two stories. Only enough for embarrassment and a hefty hospital bill. I stick it out.
Last time, Zora shared with me that her favorite colors to wear are black and brown, and that she prefers to be nude when at all possible.
“Everything I’m wearing, BROWN! Brown shirt, brown pants, brown pantyhose, brown boots, brown…well, no bra. No panties. Nnnnnnnnnno. I never wear underwear. I hate it.” By this point I thought the stay in the hospital might be a welcome escape. “Whenever I go home, I take off my shirt, I take off my pants, I take of my pantyhose. I just like to be free, you know?” No. No, not really.
I, of course, respect Zora’s free nature, and I am glad that she, as a “curvaceous” middle-aged woman feels comfortable enough with her body to walk around naked everywhere permitted (she told me about her time on a nude beach in Jamaica. She had a great time.), but I, on the other hand, shrink back when I hear the word “panties,” and I cry when it is preceeded by the word “no.” I now knew too much. I’d never be able to look at Zora the same. She didn’t wear drawers, and it was all I could think about.
Zora went on to talk about why she no longer went to clubs. I would guess it was because she was 40, but apparently it was because her friend got slipped a ruffie at a strip club. She doesn’t wear fur out, because once she checked her mink coat, and the people there stole it. Her daughter has made some “bad choices.” Go figure.
But while she told me these things, all I could think of was that fact that she was flying free beneath that pantsuit, and well, that was just too much for me to take. I hope to God that she never wears a sundress during a windy summer day. At least not while I’m around. I don’t even know what poor little Chester would do.